42THE APOLOGY OF AL KINDY.

descended in the line not of the Arabs, but of the Israelites; and it is for them, and not for you, to invite me to the same." After adducing certain metaphysical arguments in favour of the Trinity, he quotes largely from the books of the Old Testament to show that the mystery, though not fully unfolded until the advent of Christ, was plainly foreshadowed in the Jewish Scriptures. He asserts that the Trinity, as well as the Sonship of the Messiah, are misrepresented in the Coran, and that the notion of a Female element in the Godhead was borrowed by Mahomet from the Jews. He denies that, as stated in the Coran, Christians hold that "God is one of Three," or that "there are three Gods"—an accusation resting on the heretical dogmas of sects like the Marcionites, "ignorant dogs," who did not deserve even the name of Christian; and he appeals to his friend's intimate knowledge to bear him out in his assertion of the true doctrine held by the Church, namely, that there is "One God in three Persons."

Our Author is here profuse in quotation from the Old Testament. For example, he refers to the substitution of the ram for Isaac; the revelation of Jehovah as I am that I am; "the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob"; the use of the plural number in such passages as, "Let Us go down," which, he argues, was, according to Hebrew usage, not honorific, but based on the mystery of trinity in unity; the three angels who visited Abraham ; "The Lord thy God is one Lord"; "God made the heavens, by his Word, and his Breath" (Ps. xxxiii. 6); the Tersanctus

MAHOMETíS PROPHETIC CLAIM.43

of Isaiah, &c. Our Apologist "could rain down showers of similar evidence, if it were not to make his book prolix and wearisome."1

Mahomet's
prophetic claim a
proper subject for
discussion (p. 41).
Our Author now addresses himself to his friend's appeal. Of the person of Mahomet, connected as Al H‚shimy was by descent with that illustrious personage, he would not say one offensive word.2 But his claim to be a prophet stood on different ground, and was open to challenge. The summons to believe, coming from any but a tyrant, must be based on reason sufficient to carry conviction. He would therefore discuss the Prophet's career from beginning to end. It was a worthy controversy, in which party spirit and bigotry might well be put aside.


1  The reasoning is sometimes curious, as in the recognition of three Persons in "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Among the passages with the plural number is that from the Book of Daniel, "God speaks to thee, O king, saying, To thee WE speak, 0 Nebuchadnezzar,"—not "I speak,"—an expression which I do not trace. Many of Al Kindy's arguments will hardly carry conviction, especially the metaphysical, though these were probably cast in a polemical mould attractive at the time. But the only argument in this passage as to the propriety of circulating or translating which I have doubts is that in which he asserts the Hanyfite religion of Abraham to have been, not the Catholic faith of the Unity (as is clearly intended in the Coran), but Sabean idolatry. To support this view, our Author twists texts of the Coran, as where Mahomet is commanded to say, "I am the first Moslem." Mahometan readers will with reason object to such misrepresentation of their Scripture.

2  Our Author never speaks of the Prophet by name, but generally as "thy Master" (S‚hib).